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Kawa ER5 electrical gremlins

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by Viker, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. Another exciting first in my motorcycling career last night: riding home in a tow truck! :cry:

    I've only had the bike a couple of days, so I'm thrilled to be getting off on the right foot.

    The ride home from buying the bike on tuesday was 30 mins. Enough to fully charge the battery, right?

    Last night, thursday, I took it out to a carpark for practice, but the carpark was shut. So I pulled over, turned off the key and checked my map for carpark B.

    When I tried to fire it up, it wouldn't turn over until I turned the high beams off. "Kinda lame," I thought and proceeded to carpark B.

    Carpark B was full of cars, so I pulled over and keyed off again.

    Then it wouldn't start at all. The instrument lights visibly dimmed between one attempt and the next.

    Later, after my exciting tow truck ride, I connected the bike to my car battery and it soon started and ran just fine for 30-60 seconds – but the engine cut out as soon as I disconnected the car. I did this twice with the same result.

    Haven't had a chance yet to multimeter anything.

    So my diagnosis is that the battery is ok, but not charging, so it's probably a wrecked regulator-rectifier that need to be rectified.

    Can I get a second opinion please?
  2. Could be that, could be a range of other things electrical as well. Also, probably good to learn how to bump-start your bike. Could save you the cost of a tow-truck in future.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Charge the battery with an external charger then Get a multimeter and measure the battery voltage
    • With the bike off.
    • With the bike running at idle
    • With the bike reving to cruise level revs.

    If the voltage is lower than 11 when off it's a tired battery.
    Voltage at idle should be 12 or there abouts. Voltage at cruise revs shouls be 13.8 - 14.5
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Good advice Anto, googling it now :)
  5. Battery is on charge now. I'll report back when there's something to report.
  6. Owning an older bike with charging problems myself, I've gotten pretty good at it!
  7. Battery seems sound. It charged from a very low base, the battery charger was in pulse mode for hours. The voltage across the terminals is 13.4.

    So far so good.

    I put the battery back in the bike and get nothing from it, not even a flicker of light.

    I connected the bike again to the car battery (following these instructions: http://www.ehow.com/how_4842968_jump-start-motorcycle-battery-car.html), still nothing.

    All the fuses I can see are intact.

    But wait, the dashboard lights do slowly, dimly, glow.
    And the battery voltage has fallen to sevens and eights.

    I guess I need a new battery.
  8. Yep sounds good.

    Not so good, I take it your mean the voltage drops to the 7 to 8 volt when you are cranking the engine. If it drops to that voltage when just switched on it could be a heavy short. If that is the case things will get hot and possibly smoke. :(

    If things aren't hot then yes it is probably a collapsed battery.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. The engine doesn't actually turn over, when I try there is a loud click (or a ragged buzzing like it's trying to click) from something electrical close to the battery.

    After each attempt to turn it over, the voltage across the battery drops to 8 (or sometimes 7), then climbs to 9 or 10.

    Nothing is hot or smoking that I can see.

    Here's hoping that it's just the battery and I can have it running tomorrow night.

    Thank you so much for your help (y)
  10. Ok, sounds like battery, the starter motor not having enough grunt to engage and turn the engine over is a low voltage sign. However the battery could have been killed by a faulty regulator so when you replace the battery do the same voltage checks discussed above. Fingers crossed it is just the battery.
  11. Thought so :)

    The bike was ridden twice in the last two years (owner living overseas), so fingers crossed it's just that the battery was neglected and run down and recharged and recharged and recharged.

    I'll do the check you mentioned as soon as I can get her running.

    Thanks again.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. If its been sitting for that long I'd also look at dropping and replacing fluids (the bikes, not yours).

    Ahh bumps starts - this was something I had to do regularly on the farm bike, though it was less about the battery and most about the missing kickstart. Great days.

    Though, having just had to do this on some elses bike with a dead battery I'm definitely getting too old.

    Good luck

  13. The new battery's voltage with the bike off: 12.8
    Running at idle: 12.7
    At 4k: 13.4

    That last one is lower than Dr VFR would like to see, so perhaps there's a bit of a charging issue as well.

    I'll put the new battery on the charger overnight and test again in the morning.
  14. Good idea.

    I'm thinking of doing a night class in motorcycle maintenance. Or else taking it to the motorbike doctor for a full check up.

    Either way I'll go for fresh fluids everywhere.
  15. And in the morning:
    13v at rest
    Climbing, climbing climbing to14.3 at idle
    14.6 at 4k

    13.4 at rest
    14.7 at idle
    14.8 at 4k


  16. A little bit bit not significantly, if it was in the 15's at revs then I would be concerned but 14.9 is ok. Your meter if it is a cheapy could have a couple of decimal points of error in it. If it settles down at that voltage and doesn't climb much higher you should be OK.
  17. Thanks Chris.

    It is a pretty cheap meter.

    I got home tonight, got suited and booted, ready to ride.

    The bike starts first try. I put my helmet on over a big grin, throw my leg ov-

    Q: Why is it so dark behind my bike?
    A: Because the tail light does not light.


    Bulb looks ok, fuse looks ok, brake light works.

    It worked before I bought it.

    Swap helmet for headtorch, boots for sneakers, grin for sigh and commence stripping the rear fairing to trace the wires.

    I'm learning more maintenance more quickly than I intended.
  18. Sometimes the filament looks ok but isn't. Maybe swap in a new bulb just to try it?
  19. Sure enough, new bulb = instant tail light.

    Sadly, some muppet (i.e. me) while investigating the wiring has maladjusted the rear brake light switch.

    Note to self: knowing that the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone does not make me an orthopedic surgeon.
  20. Heh, sometimes the obvious solution is the right one! If it's any consolation, I recently took the petrol tank off my zeal looking for the rec/regulator, only to find it was under a small panel on the other side of the bike that only required one Allen key to remove :0